7th Grade~ Literary Terms to Know
1. Inner Voice - what you say or think to yourself as you internally interpret the story or play
2. Genre - French word for the “category” or “type” of literature, defined by style, content and form.(ex: novel, short story, poem)
3. (a) Autobiography - Writer’s story of his/her own life.
4. (b) Biography - The writer’s story or account of some other person’s life.
5. (c) Poetry - Writing that is imaginative and emotional, written with words that are vivid and colorful. These words are then arranged so that they have pleasing sound and rhythm; e.g., sonnets, limericks, free verse, etc.)
6. (d) Myth - Story that tries to explain a belief, especially a belief having to do with nature, life or religion.
7. (e) Realistic Fiction - A contrived story which could really happen or have happened.
8. *Contemporary Fiction - Though the story is made up, is seems like something that could happen now, using a modern setting.
9. *Historical Fiction - Though the story is made up, it seems like something that could have really happened in the past, ( earlier times )
10. (f) Mystery - same components of other realistic fiction, but with a vital change of emphasis: everything in the story revolves around a puzzle, or an unusual problem to solve (has a question to be answered or secret to be uncovered)
11. (g) Science Fiction - major events might really happen, based on scientific facts that we know to be true; usually in the near or distant future on Earth or another location that real scientists theorize may exist. (about worlds that could be, somewhere out there)
12. (h) Fantasy - major events could not happen, according to science as we know it today, usually right now in either a real or imaginary place. Magic or impossible strategies are used to solve a problem; e.g., sorcerers, dragons, etc.
13. (i) Folktale - story or legend forming part of an oral tradition made up of recorded legends, fairy tales, pourquoi (why-it- happened) tales, fables (moral stories), and trickster tales
14. (j) Short story - A brief work of fiction that contains all the basic literary elements.
15. Non-fiction - A work based on fact.
16. General non-fiction - A work based on fact other than a biography or autobiography; e.g., Geography, Science, Technology
17. Fiction - A literary work whose content is produced by the imagination and is not necessarily based on fact
18. Glossary - a collection of terms with definitins, limited to a special area of knowledge or usage ( a one subject dictionary)
19. Bibliography - an alphaetic listing of sources of information about a specific subject
20. Prose - Ordinary non-poetic writing
21. Novel - A book-length prose story. It is fictional, which means it is made up or created by the author’s imagination.
22. Episode - a part of a story that is a story in itself; an incident that is complete and makes sense on its own
23. Trilogy - a series or group of three plays, novels, operas, etc., that although individually complete are closely related in theme sequence or the like
24. Author’s Purpose - their reason for creating a work, to explain, inform, entertain, persuade or reveal an important truth
25. Book Review - a formal, critical examination of a work of fiction ( examining literary devices) or nonfiction (examining factual data clearness, originality, etc.)
26. Book Jacket - a dust cover for a book, includes title and author on front, author’s picture and/or positive comments from reviewers and/or a synopsis
27. Blurb - a synopsis found on the front flap of a book previewing its contents
BASIC PARTS OF A SHORT STORY OR NOVEL
28. Prologue - a preface or introduction to the story, the author’s setting forth of the meaning or purpose
29. Setting - time and place in which the action of a story takes place
30. Plot - a sequence of related events that make up the story
31. Chronology - an arrangement of events in the order of their occurrence
32. Conflict - major struggle between characters or between opposing forces (problem to be overcome)
33. (a) External - the main character struggles with another person or with an outside force, like the sea [problems over which the character has no control, e.g. acts of God]
(1) man vrs. man (2) man vrs. nature (3) man vrs. society (4) man vrs. fate
34. (b) Internal - a self imposed challenge; the main character struggles with opposing ideas or feelings within his or her own mind; usually involves decision making (ex: divorce, suicide, isolation]
(5) man vrs. himself
35. Exposition - the first part of a plot that explains, informs, or presents information; where the author establishes the setting, introduces the main characters and the basic situation
36. Rising Action - events from a story preceding the climax where various problems arise; the explanation and complications that lead to the climax
37. Climax - high point of interest or suspense and action in the story.
38. Turning Point - the exact point where the main character(s) faces a huge decision and when tensions are usually high
39. Falling Action - part of the story which follows the climax and leads to the resolution
40. Resolution - the end of the central story or play; a satisfying conclusion to the story (opened or closed)
41. Epilogue - an afterward or concluding section usually about the future of the characters
42. Theme - the underlying meaning of the story; the central idea or the purpose of the story; a universal truth
43. Characters - who is/are in the story; person, animal or an imaginary creature that takes part in the action of the story
44. Characterization - the act of creating & developing a character; reveals characters personalities or quirks
(1) through description
(2) through interaction with other characters
(3) through dialogue (conversations)
45. Protagonist - a main character of the story (often the hero)
46. Antagonist - character or force in direct conflict with the protagonist
47. Motivation - why characters behave in a certain way. You can track motivation by using “because” sentences.
48. Mood - the atmosphere or feel of the story; it may be serious, humorous, satiric, etc., the feeling you get overall
49. Tone - the author’s attitude toward the subject, reader or character; light-hearted, distant, humorous, creepy, mysterious,etc.
50. Tension - a mental or nervous strain, a state of strained relationships, an uneasiness due to mutual hostility
51. Suspense - mental uncertainty, excitement as to the outcome
52. Foreshadowing - the writer’s hints and clues that suggests events that may still occur
53. Flashback - a section of the story that interrupts the sequence of events to relate an event from an earlier time; used to give additional information that will help the reader understand the story better
54. Empathy - putting yourself in someone else’s place and imagining how that person must feel
55. Narrator - person or character telling the story
56. Dialogue - the talking that goes on between characters; conversation
57. Dialect - regional differences in oral speech
58. Point-of-view - how the author chooses to tell the story; the perspective from which the author presents the story
59. (a) First person - one of the characters in the story is telling the story; characterized by pronouns I, me, we, etc.
60. (b) Third person - someone outside of the story is telling it; characterized by pronouns he, she, they, etc.
61. Style - the way an author puts the words together to create a story using a combination of literary elements to create something unique and personal; it affects how we read and respond to a story
DEVICES of STYLE
62. *Imagery - the use of sensory words (sight, sound, smell, taste, feel) to describe an object or person; e.g., a freezing-cold snow cone, the fragile and gentle touch of a butterfly’s wing, the screeching cry of an owl
63. *Figurative Language - expressing ideas indirectly; language used in a special way to create a special effect made up of words and phrases which don’t mean what they first appear to mean
64. (a) Simile - comparing onething to another using either “like” or “as” (The thick fog was like a suffocating wet blanket.)
65. (b) Metaphor - comparing two different things without using a comparison word, e.g., The thick fog resembled a suffocating wet blanket. E.g. his eyes are piercing lasers.
66. (c) Personification - a form of figurative language in which an idea, object or animal is given human characteristics, e.g. the autumn leaves danced. . , the house waited patiently . . .
67. *Devices of sound - auditory techniques considered by an author when creating a story
68. (a) Onomatopoeia - words that imitate the natural sound associated with them, buzzzzz, drip
69. (a) Alliteration - repetition of initial sounds, common in poetry, advertising, etc. often found in tongue twisters
70. (a) Rhyme - a regular recurrence of corresponding sounds
71. (a) Rhythm - the regular pattern of stressed and unstressed syllables or words, the beat
72. *Hyperbole - obvious exaggeration that is intended for effect; an extravagant statement not meant to ta taken literally; e.g., I’ve been waiting here for an eternity.
73. *Pun - “play on words” sometimes on different senses of the same word and sometimes on the similar sense or sound of different worse, e.g., PU is 2/3 of a pun; whine-wine
74. Symbol (symbolism) - anything that is used to represent or suggest something else
75. Anthology - A collection of literary pieces, such as poems, short stories or plays.
76. Essay - A short literary composition on a single subject, usually presenting the personal view of the author.
77. Drama - the form of literature commonly known as “plays” (comedy/tragedy)
78. Plagiarism - copying someone else’s writing or ideas and passing them off as your own
79. Pseudonym - name author uses instead of his/her real name (aka “pen name”); alias
80. Analogy - a comparison based on the idea that there is some similarity between things that are otherwise dissimilar
81. Stereotype - an oversimplified idea of a person or concept; one that does not change; e.g., dumb jock, they’re blonde
82. Abstract - word that refers to an idea instead of a real object or thing; e.g., friendship, trust, hope
83. Concrete - word that refers to a real object that can be detected by the five senses
84. Ambiguity - having 2 or more possible meanings or interpretations with the correct choice difficult to determine; sometimes it's intentional and meant to mislead the reader or listener
85. Imply (Implication) - to “weave” in an underlying meaning that’s intended to be understood but isn’t openly expressed
86. Inference (Infer) - to “take out of” or to draw a conclusion based on that which is implied
87. Literal - meant to be taken as given, to be accepted at face value, primary meaning
88. Context - refers to the other words around a particular word
89. Connotation - the feeling or emotion a word brings to your mind
90. Denotation - dictionary meaning of a word without the emotion or feeling connected
91. Palindrome - a word or sentence whose letters read the same backwards as forward
92. Parody - a humorous imitation of an author’s style; to imitate or ridicule an author’s writing
93. Sarcasm - the use of praise to ridicule someone or something
94. Irony : (a) using a word or phrase to mean the exact opposite of its normal meaning
(b) when the outcome of an action is the opposite of what was expected
95. Satire - writing that ridicules people’s mistakes and weaknesses; often used to raise questions about a current trend or political decision
96. Cliché - phrase or word used so much it is no longer an effective way of saying something
For additional practice try the online puzzles at